PESJ History (cont.)
The resignation of the
Comelec was announced at 4:00 p.m. on a Thursday, while the election was scheduled to
start early in the morning of the next day, Friday. Thus, on Friday, Sept. 15, parents and
the general assembly converged in the lobby of the PSJ while the PA and PTC took the pains
of distributing letters of apology for the current inconvenience and disappointment.
At about noon-time, the
unexpected happened. An active parent of the Parents Association, Mrs. Milette Shahwan,
who is now our Canteen Manager, was accosted and attacked by PSJ teachers and staff. This
extreme sacrifice of a parent proved to be a turning point.
Subsequent complaints and
demands by parents for the Congen, in his capacity at that time as school director of PSJ,
to punish the offenders and institute discipline among his faculty and staff fell on deaf
It was thus that
concerned parents led by the PA and PTC, on Sept. 21, sent Dr. Bahjin and Jun Credo to see
the Attaché for Education and the Ambassador in Riyadh with a request from parents to
form a second Philippine school in Jeddah directly under the directorship of the
After full consultation
with the Congen, the Education Attaché recommended to the Ambassador the approval of the
request of our group of parents to establish the Philippine Embassy School in Jeddah.
On Sept. 25, this
approval was announced to parents in a general assembly hastily held at the Manila Food
Plaza. During this assembly, the PA gained the commitment of at least 104 parents to
support the PESJ. Further, the assembly unanimously decided to install the PA candidates
to the aborted PSJ school board election as members of the Interim School Board of the
This school board is
composed of parents representatives Jun Credo, Jun Atienza, Ramon Soriano & Said
Sadain; teacher representatives Mrs. Belma Regis, Mrs. Emma Tiama, Mrs. Mayette Catacutan
and Mrs. Naima Bilaran; and OCW representative, Dr. Ibrahim Bahjin.
Shortly thereafter, Mrs.
Belma Regis accepted the mother role of Acting Principal of PESJ by popular demand.
More importantly, the
active members of the PA, the core group of volunteers in all these efforts, worked hard
during the two weeks in late Sept. and early Oct. 1995, raising the necessary fund,
locating a good school site, preparing the site, procuring furniture, equipment and
materials, hiring teachers and staff, in time for an Oct. 7 opening date.
Thus, on Oct. 7, 1995,
the PESJ, with much great help from a lot of parents and the OCW community at large, and I
would like to especially mention here, the Bangsa-Sug ethnic community to which I belong
to, opened its doors to 67 students who, without any reservations and in the midst of
extreme adversities and uncertainties, put their trust in the hands of this core group of
parents with a vision to pursue.
After another quarter of
the SY 95-96, these 67 students were further joined by 45 more. At the end of the school
year, the PESJ had a population of some 120 students.
In Dec. 1995, however, the
Saudi MOE came out with a one-city-one-school policy which left us with no choice but to
devise a way to co-exist with the old school while preserving our own management style and
our own academic program.
with the general PESJ community followed this surpise announcement. The very existence of
PESJ was being threatened, and the community have to come up with an ingenious solution to
maintain its gains and continue its growth. Thus, by Feb. 1996, the PESJ community had
proposed to the Embassy in Riyadh for PESJ to pursue a science-oriented curriculum in
order to distinguish our operation from the existing curriculum of the PSJ, and thus
create two sections under one school in line with an MOE exception to the policy.
Under the threat of
closure, leaders of the two Phil. schools in Jeddah agreed in April 1996 to apply for a
single license to the MOE as the International Philippine School in Jeddah, to operate
from a single location but with two sections, one a general education section and the
other one, a science-oriented section, and for DECS to modify the old PSJ license to read
"IPSJ (formerly the PSJ and the PESJ)". The two schools also agreed to select
their MOE representatives, namely Dr. Bahjin of PESJ, Ding Razon of PESJ and Ben Guerra of
The opening of the SY
1996-1997, saw the upsurge of enrollees to PESJ, now being relabeled as IPSJ-Science and
currently implementing the science curriculum at the 1st year H.S. level, and enhanced
general education curricula from Grade 1 to Grade 6. From an initial student population of
67, exactly one year ago from today, our student population now stands at 370!
Our present facilities
determined this limit. Sadly, we have to reject other applicants because we cannot
accommodate them anymore in our present location.
In the future, we expect
this population to further grow especially with the expanded facilities which will become
available to us shortly.
Thus, one year from the
opening of the PESJ, this community of concerned parents, is once again at the threshold
of assuming a greater role in the development of the Filipino OCW community here in
More than ever, we need to
remain unified and vigilant, that our vision of quality education for our children at an
affordable cost to us parents, shall be sustained and be strengthened as we face up to the
challenges that lie ahead of us.
Thank you and good
October 7, 1996